Thinley Namgay

Dorji Dema, 38, from Paro is the lone female contestant so far for the first ever Bhutan Grand Prix to be held next month in Thimphu.

She will challenge male archers at the Changlimithang Stadium.

As a maiden competition, the organisers had opened the online registration for only men this year. However, Dorji Dema came forward to race in this male-led sport.

Dorji Dema requested the Bhutan Olympic Committee and the Woezer Events to give her an opportunity after finding that there is no prospect for women to be a part of grand prix this season.

Dorji Dema said that Bhutanese female compound archers are negligible. She said a uniform platform by the Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF) would address the gap between men and women in the game.

Olympic style compound archery in Bhutan started only in 2012.

As a former recurve national archer at the BAF from 2001 to 2008, Dorji Dema felt she could also excel in compound style archery.

Her last international participation was in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the recurve category.

Due to family obligations, Dorji had to discontinue archery for eight years until December 2016.

Dorji Dema said she was thrilled about the upcoming grand prix.  “I am confident.”

She said the status of women’s representation in the different jobs is improving today and the aged-old social stigma related to archery should also stop. “Today, women can do anything like men. Sports also have various opportunities in life and youth must come forward.”